With the late commitments from top high school basketball recruits in the 2012 class like Nerlens Noel to Kentucky, Shabbaz Muhammad and Tony Parker to UCLA, and Anthony Bennett’s recent decision to attend UNLV; there are still two McDonald’s All-American left to pick a school. The suspense will come for Amile Jefferson as he is expected to announce his decision on Tuesday.
Jefferson has a final five of Duke, N.C. State, Ohio State, Kentucky, and Villanova. Reports are circulating that the Philadelphia native is likely ACC-bound with his decision expected to come down to the Wolfpack and Blue Devils .
“In an ideal world I would have made my decision sooner and gotten that stress and pressure off my chest,” Jefferson admitted in an interview during the McDonald’s All-American Game media day. “I’ve been looking at them all thoroughly, getting to know the coaching staff and the players.”
With N.C. State losing reserve frontcourt players DeShawn Painter and Tyler Harris to transfer, Jefferson could fit an immediate need in the Wolfpack frontcourt even with C.J. Leslie coming back for his junior season. Jefferson would also be the fourth McDonald’s All-American to commit to Mark Gottfried joining Rodney Purvis, T.J. Warren, and Tyler Lewis.
The return of Mason Plumlee apparently hasn’t hurt Duke’s chances of landing Jefferson even though they already return Ryan Kelly, Josh Hairston, and will get redshirt freshmen Marshall Plumlee and Alex Murphy to fill up their frontcourt. Jefferson could probably see major minutes right away is he stays home and attends Villanova since they lose their top two scorers, Maalik Wayns and Dominic Cheek who both left early for the NBA Draft. Will Jefferson want to be part of the re-loading effort ‘Nova is currently going through?
The appeal of playing for John Calipari at Kentucky is obvious after the success their underclassmen have recently had.
“The way Coach Cal gets his players to play, especially the young players. How he motivates them.” UK does return Kyle Witljer and has incoming freshmen Noel, Alex Poythress, and Willie Cauley joining the frontcourt fray so minutes might be hard to come by for Jefferson.
The Buckeyes have a hole in their frontcourt with Jared Sullinger leaving for the NBA Draft and also minutes to fill on the wing with William Buford graduating. While there are minutes to be filled at Ohio State, that’s not what stands about the school to Jefferson. “The way they’re able to compete, night in night out, given the conference they’re in. To have strong academics on top of that definitely puts them apart from other schools.”
Whichever school Jefferson picks will be getting an athletic combo forward who should be able to contribute immediately. “My ability to play inside-outside,” Jefferston listed as one his strengths. “My versatility, put the ball on the floor, or put my back to the basket. Being able to find guys off the dribble, using my size and length.”
Besides Jefferson, Devonta Pollard is the other McDonald’s All-American who has yet to pick a college. Both players should be immediate contributors and possibly help a team get over the hump. Time is ticking and five college coaches are still sitting on pins and needles hoping a big-time talent like Jefferson inks his national letter of intent with their school tomorrow.
(This was a Paul M. Banks/David Kay collaboration.)
Paul M. Banks is CEO of The Sports Bank.net, an official Google News site generating millions of unique visitors. He’s also a regular contributor to Chicago Now, Walter Football.com, Yardbarker, and Fox Sports
A Fulbright scholar and MBA, Banks has appeared on live radio all over the world; and he’s a member of the Football Writers Association of America, U.S. Basketball Writers Association, and Society of Professional Journalists. The President of the United States follows him on Twitter (@Paul_M_BanksTSB) You should too.
David Kay is a senior feature NBA Draft, NBA, and college basketball writer for the Sports Bank. He also heads up the NBA and college basketball material at Walter Football.com and is a former contributor at The Washington Times Communities. David has appeared on numerous national radio programs spanning from Cleveland to New Orleans to Honolulu. He also had the most accurate 2011 NBA Mock Draft on the web.